Sunday, February 12, 2012

2012 NFHS Football Rules Changes

After meeting in Indianapolis three weeks ago, the Football Rules Committee for the National Federation of State High School Associations approved multiple rules changes. These eight changes were approved by the NFHS Board of Directors and announced Thursday. There were both major rule changes, as well as minor changes and clarifications. The rules changes are as follows:

Major Changes:

Losing a Helmet
The first change is to NFHS Rule 3-5-10, which governs when a time-out occurs regarding (a) an injured player, (b) a player that displays signs and symptoms of a concussion, (c) and player that is bleeding or has blood on his person or jersey. The rule change is an addition to the rule that now requires a player who loses their helmet during a live-ball to sit out one play. According to NFHS, the helmet must come completely off during the live-ball play for the rule to apply. Players are exempted from having to sit out a play if the helmet coming loose can be directly attributed to a foul, such as a facemask. NFHS cites data showing a great frequency of players losing their helmetsduring the course of a live-ball play. According to Kentucky High School Athletic Association commissioner and chair of the Football Rules Committee, Julian Tackett, the aim is for players to stop wearing their helmets loose. The intent is to have players wearing properly fitted helmets that are worn tight around the head. NFHS' press release did not state whether a time-out may prevent a player having to sit out a play. Under Rule 3-5-10a, an injured player is required to sit a play out, if an official discovers the injury and delays the ready for play whistle, regardless if a team takes a charged time-out after the fact.

Case Play:
Team A has the ball 1st and 10 at their own 20 yard line. Running back A1 runs a sweep play for three yards before being contacted by defensive linemen B1 and linebacker B2. While A1 is contacted by B1 and B2, he stays on his feet and continues his progress forward, but the contact causes A1 to lose his helmet completely at the 24 yard line. Their was no foul on the play. Ruling: 2nd and 6 for Team A at its own 24 yard line. The play is immediately dead once the ball carrier loses his helmet completely. A1 is required to sit out one play because he completely lost his helmet.

Definition of a Catch
The second major rule change by NFHS modifies the definition of a catch by abolishing the "push out" rule. Previously under NFHS rules, a receiver could make a legal catch if the covering official determined that the receiver was "contacted by an opponent in such a way that he is prevented from returning to the ground inbounds while maintaining possession of the ball" (Rule 2-4-1). Had a receiver jumped from the ground in bounds, caught the ball, and then was pushed out by his opponent, and the official believed he would have landed inbounds otherwise, it would be a completed catch. NFHS now requires that under all circumstances the player maintain possession throughout the process of a catch and contact the ground inbounds, no matter what the opponent does. Rule 2-4-1 will now only state, "A catch is the act of establishing player possession of a live ball which is in flight, and first contacting the ground inbounds." The rule change will not change the fact that a receiver is only required to have one foot down inbounds for a legal catch. Abolishing the push out rule follows the 2008 NFL rule change that abolished their push our rule, as well as the NCAA definition of a catch. At both levels, a receiver is required to come down touching the ground in bounds with possession of the ball for a catch. The exception for NCAA is if a player had their forward progress stopped while airborne over inbounds ground and is pushed back out of bounds.

Case Play: Team A has the ball 1st and 10 at their own 20 yard line. Quarterback A1 throws a pass to wide receiver A3, who receives the ball at his own 33 yard line along the sideline in the air. While A3 is airborne, defensive back B1 shoves A3 toward the sideline. A3's right foot is his first body part to touch the ground and lands touching the sideline marking. Ruling: Incomplete Pass, 2nd and 10 at the 20 yard line. For A3's catch to be considered a legal catch, he must maintain possession of the ball and first touch the ground in bounds, despite the opposing player's action.

Other Changes:

Field Logos
NFHS has approved a rule change to Rule 1-2-3l that will allow schools to place corporate and advertising logos in the field of play itself. Previously, NFHS only allowed such logos to be placed in the end zones. Logos can now be placed between the goal lines, so long as they do not interfere with the boundary lines and field markings.

Block Below the Waist
Rule 2-3-7, which defines a block below the waist is being changed so that the interpretation of a block below the waist includes contacting an opponents hands below their waist. Previously, a block that initiated with contact against the opponents hands below their waist was not considered a foul. Under the new interpretation, it shall be considered a foul and penalized. NFHS considers this a "risk-minimization change."

Blocking on a Free Kick
Rule 9-3, which governs illegal blocking will include a new provision after experimentation in Iowa and Minnesota. Rule 9-3-8 will prohibit contact initiation by the kicking team before the ball crosses the plane of the receiving team's restraining line or before the kicking team is allowed to legally recover the free kick.

Horse-Collar Tackle Clarification
NFHS has clarified Rule 9-4-3k to give guidance to game officials by stating which direction the opponent was pulled during a horse-collar for it to be considered a foul. An opponent pulled forward by a horse-collar tackle is not considered to have been fouled.

Play Cards as Illegal Equipment
Under the new rule, Rule 1-5-3c(8) will now consider play cards that are not worn on the wrist or arm to be considered illegal equipment.

Facemask Rule Expanded
Under this rule change, 9-4-3h will now consider a facemask foul to have occurred if a player grasps the opponent's tooth or mouth guard.

News: NFHS Football Rules Changes Press Release


Anonymous said...

What is the penalty for blocking before you are allowed on a free kick. 5, 10 or 15 yards. Previous spot right?

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